At the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mary Meeker updated her Internet Trends analysis that she has presented for the past eight years. Meeker is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and was formerly managing director and research analyst at Morgan Stanley.
Meeker offered some compelling data this year (the ReadWriteWeb post features some great trend charts and statistics). Highlights include:
Globality — China’s Internet users add up to almost twice the number of U.S. users.
Mega-Trend — Empowering people worldwide with mobile devices.
55 percent of Twitter traffic and 33 percent of Facebook traffic comes from mobile devices.
User Interface — Touch, sound and movement is the new UI.
85 percent of world’s population now covered by commercial wireless signals.
Smartphones and tablets outshipped PCs (notebooks and desktops) in Q4 2010.
Mobile apps and advertising has been growing 153 percent/year over past four years.
Social networking time is surpassing portal times.
A recent study by EyeTrackshop showed that Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPad 2 “drew more glances and held people’s attention longer than Google Android devices from Amazon, HTC, Motorola and Samsung,” reports Forbes.
The study showed participants a picture of six smartphones and five tablets. EyeTrackshop’s software tracked where subjects’ eyes went, in what order and how long, using webcams.
“EyeTrackshop said the results equate to respondents dwelling on the iPhone 4S 42 percent longer than the other phones and on the iPad 138 percent longer than the other tablets.”
Additionally, a follow-up survey indicated that 40 percent found the iPhone most visually appealing; for tablets, 35 percent for the iPad; and disregarding price, 47 percent said they would buy the iPhone and 48 percent preferred the iPad to other tablets.
Condé Nast reports a 268 percent increase in digital subscriptions for nine of its titles since joining Apple’s Newsstand two weeks ago.
Publisher of “The New Yorker,” “Vanity Fair” and “Wired” has seen a tenfold increase in digital subscriptions and single-copy sales across all platforms since September 2010.
“If other publishers are seeing the kinds of lift that Condé Nast is… it represents an initial validation of the demand for a separate area for periodicals, away from games like Angry Birds or social media apps like Instagram and Foursquare,” suggests paidContent.
However, while digital sales surge (Next Issue Media projects aggregate revenue of $3 billion by 2014), ad sales are reportedly slow to follow, which means publishers will need to carefully evaluate how to leverage the new consumer purchase activity on tablets.
Yahoo’s personalized reading app for tablets, called Livestand, is expected to launch this week.
“More than Flipboard and Zite, Livestand looks and feels like AOL’s Editions app for iPad,” reports ReadWriteWeb. “It functions as a personalized, magazine-like publication with dynamic content and sleek, often video-based advertisements.”
Propeller, the code name for Google’s challenge to Flipboard, is expected to integrate with Google+ and include several media partners. AllThingsD describes the app as “an HTML5 reader for the Apple iPad and Android.”
Yahoo and Google may be arriving on the scene a bit late to compete with the immensely popular Flipboard. However, the two companies may have an advantage with the development of cross-platform support, potentially gaining an audience among smartphone users.
Despite the cross-platform advantage, ReadWriteWeb points out that, “applications like Flipboard, Zite and Pulse have proven very popular among consumers. To compete, the big players will need to offer something truly unique to readers, publishers and advertisers alike.”
A newly uncovered Apple patent suggests 3D gesture control may be in the works for the company’s mobile devices.
“Forget relying solely on touch to control your Apple device,” writes Wired. “On future iPads, you may be able to control your tablet from across the room using 3D gestures, such as a swirl or swipe of the hand.”
Employing a front-facing camera, it may be possible to use 3D gestures to control graphical elements such as icons, media files, text and images on an iPad or iPhone. A toolbar would teach beginners pre-set options as well as allow users to customize their own gestures.
Another Apple patent indicates the company is working on an integrated projector for iDevices that would incorporate gesture controls for manipulating projected images.
According to the new “Global Internet Phenomena Report” from broadband solutions provider Sandvine, North Americans have officially embraced the “post-PC” era.
The report suggests that for the first time, U.S. consumers are using their gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets more than PCs for entertainment.
“[We have] entered a post-PC era, in which the majority of real-time entertainment traffic on North America’s fixed access networks is destined for devices other than a laptop or desktop computer,” Sandvine reports. “Game consoles, settop boxes, smart TVs, tablets, and mobile devices being used within the home combine to receive 55 percent of all real-time entertainment traffic.”
Interesting stats from the “Beyond Bytes” infographic: 96 percent of broadband subscribers use real-time entertainment each month, 83 percent of broadband users access YouTube videos each month (compared to 20 percent for Netflix), and real-time entertainment as a percentage of peak period downstream traffic has doubled since 2009.
Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak is predicting record sales of the Kindle and Kindle Fire. However, the company also anticipates a lag in revenue after initial sales of the devices, as consumers get acquainted with their machines before purchasing content for them.
“Much of the profit from these products would come from digital purchases by consumers post-sale,” reports The Next Web.
“Once a customer has purchased a device, what else do they buy? We certainly have some data now that we didn’t have prior to the launch [of the ad-based Kindles]. Once the customer purchases the Kindle and are carrying around this massive selection at their fingertips, they buy more content,” said Szkutak.
In a related Geek.com post, it was noted that the Kindle Fire may become the best-selling Android tablet ever, as pre-orders continue to flood in.
Amazon is producing “millions more” tablets to match the demand that has overwhelmed the company since announcing the slate a month ago.
The Fire will sell for $199, possibly making it an attractive alternative to Apple’s iPad, which starts at $499.
Digimarc moves beyond ‘watermark’ to a ‘desireable consumer experience’ with its new Discover app that “lets users capture visual and audio input with a smart phone and search for related information,” reports MIT’s Technology Review.
“Discover combines a variety of media search functions into a single app that will allow users to scan images, audio, video, and even barcodes or QR codes (two-dimensional versions of barcodes) — all without switching between apps.”
The CE manufacturers historically objected to installing watermark detectors because the content industry wanted to use them to stop undesired consumer behavior.
This app and others like it offer consumers a positive experience that could make that argument moot, and it could support new business models.
The free app is available for iOS and Android phones.
In a post that describes what should follow after Siri, GigaOM suggests, “Apple’s artificial intelligence is only the tip of the iceberg as we combine ubiquitous connectivity, sensor networks, big data and new methods of AI and programming into a truly connected network.”
The next generation of the Web will “connect machines to machines and connect those machines back to people” with advancements in low-power, cheap sensors and “better ways of programming computers so that they can understand data from several million end points.”
The necessary connectivity exists currently and improvements of sensors for tracking everything — weather, inventory, traffic conditions, etc. — will provide the necessary information.
From there, programming and better AI like Siri, “will allow machines to parse the data from billions of sensors and notify people to take action only when needed.”
Amazon announced it has expanded its trade-in program to include the Kindle and other e-readers.
A used Kindle is reportedly worth $25 to $135, and the customer will receive an Amazon gift card in exchange.
To help encourage trade-ins, the company is also offering free shipping.
“With the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire on the horizon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see many e-reader owners take advantage of this program,” suggests TechCrunch. “Simply visit Amazon’s Trade-In page and enter in the name of your model.”
Sprint announced it will replace its unlimited 4G mobile broadband for mobile hotspots and devices with three new tiered data plans.
Starting in November, “users of mobile hotspots, USB modems, tablets and notebooks will pay $45 for 3GB of combined 3G and 4G, $60 for 5GB and $90 for 10GB of combined data,” where before only 3G data had limits.
“Sprint was already showing signs that it couldn’t keep up the unlimited game forever,” reports GigaOM. “It announced last month that it was doing away with unlimited data for its smartphone hotspot feature and was capping data at 5GB a month.”
Some are concerned that this prefaces the end of Sprint’s unlimited data plans for smartphones, a differentiating factor from other providers and a selling point for the Sprint iPhone.
Looking for the flexibility and power of HTML5, Amazon has announced its new e-book format, Kindle Format 8 (KF8).
The new format will help take advantage of the richer features expected with its upcoming Android-powered, full-color Kindle Fire.
“HTML5 features such as CSS3 formatting, nested tables, SVG graphics, embedded fonts, and borders are all now supported,” reports Ars Technica. “The new format includes much richer layout options, including fixed layouts — essential for accurate reproduction of many children’s books — and panel-based layouts for comic books. Books can include sidebars and callouts, text overlaid on background images, boxes, drop caps, and more.”
KindleGen 2, the new KF8 publishing tool, is expected to be available soon.
The number of Americans who use social networks has grown 37 percent over the past year, according to comScore.
In August for example, 72.2 million Americans accessed social sites or blogs via mobile devices.
“Nearly 40 million U.S. mobile phone users, which accounts for more than half of the mobile social media audience, use social sites while on the go nearly every day,” reports Computerworld. “As a result, mobile devices are an increasingly important part of the burgeoning social media market.”
The new comScore study also indicates the number of mobile users who accessed Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn increased by at least 50 percent for each service in the past year.
Recent speculation has suggested that Apple will produce an “iPad mini” to compete with the $199 price tag of the Amazon Kindle Fire, but many analysts doubt the possibility.
For one, if Apple is looking to compete with the Kindle Fire — which it has already denounced as a threat — it would have to compete in price, not size. A recent study showed that two-thirds of consumers want 10-inch devices while only 9 percent want a 7-inch tablet.
“We expect Apple to maintain its premium price point on tablets,” wrote Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. “Apple will not allow Amazon to dictate the terms of competition — Apple makes its own rules.”
Additionally, the new size would complicate the development of apps, which have been specifically designed for the 3.5-inch and 9.7-inch displays of current Apple devices.
And the final reason: “Steve Jobs emphatically stated that 7-inch tablets are too small for a pleasant touchscreen experience,” writes Wired.